Part I Preparing
Today is Palm Sunday and begins Holy Week.
In the traditional Christian calendar this is the week that marks the last week of lent and the week that precedes Resurrection Sunday otherwise known as Easter.
Many of you may have been preparing for Holy Week since the beginning of Lent. I decided this year that I wanted to be more purposeful in my approach to Easter and so made the decision to give up bread for lent.
Bread is my comfort food. I have a love relationship with bread. It is my go to food when I am hungry and the food I love to savor with a good meal.
I could skip desserts and sweets entirely and since my husband asked that I never again give up coffee I decided that bread would be a good challenge.
I have faced temptation and come perilously close to cheating. I have actually cried out in prayer when tempted and alone at the drive thru window of McDonalds. Throughout this fasting process I have become more aware of God’s presence in my life and the great gift of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t mean to over spiritualize the fact that I gave up bread for 40 days – but I do realize how often I operate under my own power rather than relying on God.
During this week of preparation, many churches focus on the last days of Jesus life, while others focus their attention on more traditional or liturgical readings regarding Jesus ministry while on earth.
Both are an important part of understanding the significance of this week in both our church’s calendar and in preparing to celebrate the Resurrection.
I propose that we also need to prepare our hearts.
Holy week is more than just a celebration of Jesus conquering death and sin. This week is about recognizing and participating in Jesus suffering, humiliation and death that required Him to experience the ultimate pain – separation from God on our behalf.
When we identify with what Jesus voluntarily endured for us and His sacrifice that provided a way for us to have fellowship with God the Father then we are able to enter into a place where our hearts can be made aware and we can fully experience joy in worshipping The Risen King.
This celebration does not just happen by simply going through the motions of our week. We need to purposefully step into the process of remembering in order to fully appreciate and celebrate the miraculous work of Jesus risen from the dead.
What do we remember?
We remember Jesus’ life, His ministry of healing, restoration and reconciliation.
We remember that He was tempted and tried. We remember that He experienced torment and taunting.
We remember He was humiliated and mocked and ultimately He died for your sin and mine, so that we could live in right relationship with God the Father, the creator of the Universe.
I encourage you to take time this week to prepare your heart by reading and remembering.
Remember and allow the Lord to move your heart from a place of expectation of what you want from Him to a place of worshipping Him for who He is.
I’ve included some readings for you to get started in your preparation.
May the Risen Lord be with you this week as you remember…Karen